Dozens of Ocean County Residents Potentially Exposed to Measles at Private Event

Dec 12, 2018

Eighty-six county residents may have been exposed to measles at a recent invitation-only event, according to the Ocean County Health Department, which has been monitoring a measles outbreak, primarily in Lakewood. The department would not release details about the event.

“The Ocean County Health Department is endeavoring to contact all of the potentially exposed persons and others in its continued investigation and efforts in support of containing the measles outbreak,” the department stated.

As of Monday, Dec. 10, the number of measles cases in the county remained stable at 18 confirmed cases, with five cases under investigation. But OCHD Public Health Coordinator Daniel E. Regenye cautions that the measles outbreak is likely far from over. “While it is understandable that many would like to file this outbreak into the history books, we must continue to be vigilant and to take all necessary precautions to avoid an escalation,” he noted.

“The unchanged number of confirmed cases demonstrates the effectiveness of public health measures already put into place and we are grateful for the efforts of community leaders and members of the public who have embraced and amplified the messaging from the Ocean County Health Department,” he added. “Our message now is to remain informed on the status of potential measles exposure, ensure that one’s family is fully vaccinated and protected, and encourage others in the community to do likewise as we work towards the eventual eradication of measles in our county.”

Measles has an airborne contagion rate of up to 90 percent, and may linger for up to two hours beyond the time in which an infected person is in the area. The disease usually spreads through coughs and sneezes and can also infect through saliva and nasal secretions.

Symptoms typically develop 10 to 12 days after exposure to an infected person, and generally last from seven to 10 days. Initial symptoms include a fever, which may exceed 104 degrees, as well as a cough, runny nose and inflamed eyes. Small white dots may form inside the mouth two to three days after the start of symptoms. This may be followed by a red flat rash that usually starts on the face before spreading to other parts of the body.

According to the health department, “Anyone suspecting measles should isolate themselves from others and seek medical advice over the phone. Measles have a complication rate of approximately 30 percent, which means that the initial infection will cause other health problems for almost one third of those infected. Complications may be severe for pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems as well as children less than 5 years of age. Pneumonia, brain inflammation and corneal ulceration are among such potential complications.”  —J.K.-H.

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